The following letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a current Manual teacher. We are publishing it with permission from the author, amid what appears to be emerging as a systemic and pervasive pattern of discrimination that has been allowed to fester in a number of our schools under the previous administration. By sharing this teacher’s testimony with our followers, our hope is that this type of behavior can be eliminated from our schools once and for all, so no other students or staff will be subjected to similar treatment. Dear JCPS encourages JCPS to take swift action and send a clear message that discrimination, in any form, will not be tolerated.
Dear Manual Parents/Principal Mayes’ Defenders,
I asked Dear JCPS to share this letter with you. There are many teachers of differing backgrounds and political persuasions who have experienced Mr. Mayes’ bullying, manipulation tactics, or stunning lack of professionalism first hand but will not come forward publicly because he has retaliated against and maligned staff before, even for minor perceived acts of disloyalty or disobedience.
Mr. Mayes has plenty of defenders and we are sure they’re sincerely conveying their own experiences. Consider, though, that it is harmless to a Manual employee’s professional stability to defend him, but it could cost them their livelihood or open them to professional harassment for an employee to speak publicly against him. The number of times he has acted generously or kindly to parents, staff or students does not erase the experiences of others who have spoken out, or the ones who stay silent for now. What we have seen repeatedly are not situations in which there are respectful differences of opinion in which individuals can agree to disagree, especially when there is a radical imbalance of power and, in a number of cases, explicitly expressed threats to retaliate.
Staff will share their experiences during the investigation if we are actually approached to do so and given assurances of professional protection. We are happy you had a good experience with Mr. Mayes, and we know you are not alone. Knowing that staff, students and parents have been treated differently has made it harder for many to speak out in the past. Until this investigation concludes, trust us when we say that your perspective is limited due to your own experience.
The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with leadership in a JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.